Welcome back to another edition of the NXT report at The Wrestling Mania. We’re coming off what I found to be a distinctly average show and this fan, for one, is hoping things get stepped up this week.
I can also confirm that in the week that has passed since I praised Bo Dallas so highly, my life has continued normally and I’ve had no reports about the temperature changing in a certain demon’s dominion. But enough about me, let’s talk about you NXT.
Adrian Neville vs. Wesley Blake – Winner: Adrian Neville
I’m from England and I even I know that Wesley is so Texas that it hurts.
No matter how many times I watch Neville, his athletic ability (basically all his flips and stuff) never fails to entertain or impress me. Call me easily pleased, I don’t care.
This match went a lot longer than I thought it would. Although Blake didn’t get in much meaningful offence beyond some strikes and thrusts, I had expected it to be more one-sided.
Still a squash match by any other name though. Neville perhaps needed a convincing win, as a build to his NXT challenge against NXT Champion Bo Dallas.
In conclusion, quick and painless.
Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev w/ Lana – Winner: Alexander Rusev
Heard a faint chant of ‘fire Rusev’. Never going to happen.
This match was kick-tastic. Some impressive attacks from both men.
Not sure why Woods got a rematch just to be destroyed all over again.
Yes, he has essentially got another convincing win over a main roster guy but Woods hasn’t been there long enough for that to be really emphasised.
Sin Hunico seems a strange choice to be Rusev’s next ‘challenge’ but we shall see where that one goes.
CJ Parker vs. Antonio Cesaro – Winner: Antonio Cesaro
I love how Cesaro gets such a reaction on NXT. I wish this transcended to RAW and SmackDown. Dude deserves it.
Although it initially got no reaction from the crowd, I loved Parker doing an aeroplane-spin. It set up the Cesaro swing perfectly. I really liked this spot.
I actually enjoyed this match, I didn’t expect to.
I also really liked Sami Zayn coming out. It’s an example of a long-lasting feud that doesn’t feel overdone. I’m looking at you Orton/Cena.
The dynamic of the Zayn/Cesaro situation assumes a higher level of intelligence of the fan and doesn’t spoon feed you with information that you already know. Whoever is running this thing right here, bravo.
Natalya w/ Bayley vs. Summer Rae w/ Sasha Banks – Winner: Natalya
Nattie standing on Summer’s back was great. Really unique.
I thought the match started well but after Summer’s submission attempt, it felt a little disjointed.
Having Bayley and Banks out there was pointless. They could have gotten involved with each other at the very least, to justify their being there.
Bo Dallas Banner Raising Ceremony
I love the fact that Bo is so narcissistic that he hears ‘Let’s Go Bo’ when Full-Sail are chanting ‘No More Bo’. It’s the perfect reaction to make them hate him even more.
In an era when it’s cool to like heels, this guy is truly detested.
With a convincing victory fresh in the mind, it was great to have Neville interrupt the ceremony.
Kudos to the person that started the ‘He’s a W***er’ chant in honour of Neville’s glorious British heritage. I wonder if they knew what it means!
Since Bo picked up on it, it seems that Neville’s squash match taking so long was intentional. Good story telling right there.
The set up for the match was cool and although for all intents and purposes it is a beat the clock challenge in all but name, it is an original spin in setting up a Championship match.
Oh wait, it is a beat the clock challenge even in name. I don’t hate this though. I don’t know who I am any more.
Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville – Neville must survive 4:45 to earn a title shot
The match was decent but Dallas wasted a lot of time. One might be critical of that but I take it that it is a bit of ‘the tortoise and the hare’ type situation. Dallas is so confident of victory inside the time that he doesn’t rush or go at his full-speed as there is no way he can lose.
I thought it was a little foolish to have Neville go for the Red Arrow but on reflection, Neville wanted more than to just survive. Neville wanted to do what Bo said he could do and win in 4:45.
Neville’s reaction of staying on the top rope and then avoiding Dallas in the closing seconds was done perfectly.
NXT did exactly what I wanted it to this week and got back on track.
Whilst I wasn’t crazy about how long it took Adrian Neville to dispatch his first opponent, reasoning was given later in the show. I like how Bo Dallas picked up on this fact and it was used so well.
Xavier Woods and Alexander Rusev’s match seemed totally pointless and was back to the same basic formula for Rusev. I thought he’d turned a corner after his last match against Rusev but apparently not. I don’t see a match or programme with a suffering Sin Cara character doing anything to change that.
As I said earlier, I hadn’t expected much of Cesaro and CJ Parker. I am a big fan of the former and don’t get the latter and I didn’t see how this would work. It did though, especially in the closing stages.
I have already spoken highly of a renewing of the rivalry between Cesaro and Zayn. I like being treated with intelligence, as a fan and look forward to it resuming. It just has an old-school feel to it that I like.
The Divas match had promise but it felt thrown in there without any real rhyme or reason. There is a storyline there but it was barely mentioned or developed.
The ‘main event’ of the ceremony and impromptu match was really well executed and I look forward to this developing, They did a great job in this show of rebuilding Neville to be a real contender for the title.
Dallas himself was brilliant once again. I never thought I would expect him to be my favourite thing about NXT but right now he is. I’m sure he’d call that un-Bo-lievable but you’re in luck because this writer isn’t as cheesy as that!
So, yeah. I enjoyed the show and hopefully you did so too. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Wrestling Mania for my review and I shall hopefully see you again next week!
– By Richard Thompson | @AnacondaVise88